“What we see here is a geopolitical conflict because China certainly wishes to maintain its influence in East Asia, China sees itself as likely being the dominant power in East Asia,” said Keith Preston, chief editor of AttacktheSystem.com.
“And the Americans of course see themselves as wanting to maintain hegemony in East Asia as well,” Preston said.
“The two powers are probably testing each other; they’re trying to see how far they can push before the other side reacts,” he added.
The US Navy dispatched two warships through the Taiwan Strait on Thursday in the third such operation in the past four months amid tensions with China, which regards Taiwan as a breakaway republic.
The US Navy also sent two warships through the sensitive Strait last October and November as well as in July. Previously such transits only took place approximately once a year.
China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying once again called on Washington during a Friday press briefing to abide by its "one China" principle, adding that Chinese forces were closely monitoring the passage of US warships through the Strait.
Taiwan is only one of a growing number of flashpoints in the US-China relationship, which also include a trade war, US sanctions and China’s increasingly muscular military posture in the South China Sea.
China’s President Xi Jinping called on Taiwan earlier this month to reject independence and embrace "peaceful reunification" with the mainland in a conciliatory, yet firm, speech that challenged the island's political sovereignty.
The Chinese leader further vowed that "we make no promise to renounce the use of force. We reserve the option for all the necessary means."
In a strong reaction to Xi's remarks, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen insisted that the island will "never accept" a "one country, two systems" arrangement with China.
Beijing has stepped up pressure on Taiwan since Tsai took office in 2016. It has regularly deployed military aircraft and ships for drills near the island in the past few years.
US President Donald Trump recently signed into law the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act reaffirming the US commitment to Taiwan, including weapons sales.